Fintry Queen’s old operator hopes to be its new owner

The man trying to find an owner for the once popular lake cruise ship says he is considering making an offer for the vessel.

Andy Schwabb hopes that everything old can be new again.

The man who used to operate the Fintry Queen, and who has been trying to find a someone to buy the idled floating restaurant and faux paddlewheeler, may have found a possible buyer—himself.

“I’m offering myself up to the sea gods,” he said.

“I’m trying to do something that will be acceptable to the city.”

Schwabb has told the city he is considering a bid to buy the ship but in order for that to be successful, his offer would have to be accepted by the courts.

Schwabb has been acting for the court-appointed seller, Greg Chessor of Calgary, who was awarded the right to sell the vessel because he holds a large mortgage on the boat.

Schwabb told the Capital News yesterday that he had not submitted the offer yet but thinks he can raise the financing needed to return the Fintry Queen to its former popularity.

Last week, Mayor Walter Gray told a local radio station their its plans for the vessel or the city would tow it to Sutherland Bay and bill the owner.

The city wants the Fintry Queen removed from the dock where it has sat since 2008 to make way for a new downtown marina. The final design of that marina has yet to be presented and only then can the approvals required from the provincial and federal governments to do the work be aplied for. The city has said it wants the marina open in time for the 2013 boating season.

Schwabb said he has told the city of his interest and said it appears the city is willing to listen to his plan.

Kelowna is currently owed $80,000 in back moorage fees.

The city’s property manager Ron Forbes confirmed negotiations are continuing but did not identify any potential buyer.

No matter who ends up with the vessel, Schwabb said he realizes it will have to be moved to make way for the new marina.

He said if he is successful, he would try to raise money to build a new dock for the Fintry Queen but has not yet determined where that would be located.

The city had threatened to tow the vessel to Sutherland Bay and tie it up there if a plan to remove it did not come forward. Forbes said for that to happen, the city would require a court order. No order has been applied for yet, he said, because if the city would prefer to avoid spending public money to move the Fintry Queen.

As for Schwabb he said after nearly a year of extolling the virtues of the vessel and  its potential, he felt he had to “put my money where my mouth is” and consider making an offer himself.

In addition to the money owed to the city, there is also $40,00 owning in back wages for its former staff and $30,000 owing for damage to a dock at the Cove Resort on the Westside.